Historic Doubts Relative to Napoleon Buonaparte. ...: From the Eleventh London Ed

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W.F. Draper, 1874 - 48 pages
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Page 24 - That no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavours to establish.
Page 29 - I desire any one to lay his hand upon his heart, and, after a serious consideration, declare, whether he thinks that the falsehood of such a book, supported by such a testimony, would be more extraordinary and miraculous than all the miracles it relates ; which is, however, necessary to make it be received, according to the measures of probability above established.
Page 30 - English, and with them it is just the reverse ; twice, and twice only, he is personally engaged against an English commander, and both times he is totally defeated, at Acre and at Waterloo ; and, to crown all, England finally crushes this tremendous power, which has so long kept the Continent in subjection or in alarm, and to the English he surrenders himself prisoner ! Thoroughly national to be sure ! It may be all very true ; but I would only ask, if a story had been fabricated for the express...
Page 19 - Truly this evidence is such as country people give one for a story of apparitions ; if you discover any signs of incredulity, they triumphantly show the very house which the ghost haunted, the identical dark corner where it used to vanish, and perhaps even the tombstone of the person whose death it foretold.
Page 12 - I need not mention the difficulty of detecting a falsehood in any private or even public history, at the place, where it is said to happen ; much more when , the scene is removed to ever so small a distance. Even a court of judicature, with all the authority, accuracy, and judgement, which they can employ, find themselves often at a loss to distinguish between truth and falsehood in the most recent actions.
Page 12 - We find ourselves in the condition of the Hindoos who are told by their priests that the earth stands on an elephant, and the elephant on a tortoise ; but are left to find out for themselves what the tortoise stands on, or whether it stands on anything at all. So much for our clear knowledge of the means of information possessed by these witnesses; next for the grounds on which we are to calculate on their veracity. Have they not a manifest interest in circulating the wonderful accounts of Napoleon...
Page 16 - But is it not possible — is it not indeed perfectly natural ? — that the publishers even of known falsehood should assume this cautious demeanor, and this abhorrence of exaggeration, in order the more easily to gain credit ? Is it not also very possible that those who actually believed what they published, may have suspected mere exaggeration in stories which were entire fictions ? Many men have that sort of simplicity, that they think themselves quite secure against being deceived, provided...
Page 17 - It appears then, that those on whose testimony the existence and actions of Bonaparte are generally believed, fail in all the most essential points on which the credibility of witnesses depends: first, we have no assurance that they have access to correct information; secondly, they have an apparent interest in propagating falsehood; and, thirdly, they palpably contradict each other in the most important points.
Page 9 - With what greediness are the miraculous accounts of travellers received, their descriptions of sea and land monsters, their relations of wonderful adventures, strange men, and uncouth manners? But if the spirit of religion join itself to the love of wonder, there is an end of common sense; and human testimony, in these circumstances, loses all pretensions to authority. A religionist may be...
Page 24 - When any one tells me that he saw a dead man restored to life, I immediately consider with myself whether it be more probable that this person should either deceive or be deceived, or that the fact which lie relates should really have happened.

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